The majority of the largest cash house buyers in the UK are members of the NAPB with the exception of one of the biggest – National Homebuyers. It is unclear why they would not join as the barrier to entry is fairly low and a company that runs national TV campaigns could surely spare £250 a year, so it isn’t a funding issue.
A quick search on the property ombudsman website reveals that National Homebuyers are not signed up to the property ombudsman redress scheme so they cannot join the NAPB until they are. It is perplexing what they might object to in the code of practice. Perhaps they are worried that signing up to the complaints procedure could significantly increase their workload or maybe they are worried that their direct mail marketing approach doesn’t comply with section 3m “you must act promptly if a consumer asks you to stop canvassing them”. Whatever the reason for National Homebuyers absence it puts a question mark over their motives.
Another absence is webuyanyhouse.co.uk but this is a little more simple to answer, they do not actually buy properties. Despite their name being synonymous with the industry and their claims that they are the “UKs leading house buyer” who “can purchase your house in as little as 3 days” in truth they are a broker who will try to sell your house in the background through there sister estate agent company (after you have signed a tie-in contract of course). Due to this they do not qualify as a cash buyer and therefore can not join the NAPB.
How can you tell if a Cash House Buying company is a member of the NAPB?
If a cash house buying company (or We Buy Any House company) is a member of the NAPB they should have the NAPB badge on their website, it is generally included prominently on the homepage of the website and on the footer at the bottom of all of the pages.
Seeing the logo on the website however does not guarantee that the company you are looking at is a member of the national association of property buyers, this is an industry full of unscrupulous operators and some wouldn’t think twice about making false claims.
It is always recommended to visit the NAPB members page and check that the company you are looking at actually appears on there (unfortunately there is no search functionality currently available on the website so you have to scroll through all of the members) if the company that you have seen showing the badge does not appear on the NAPB website then you should report this to the NAPB via their contact page.
As the cash house buyer / we buy any house / quick sale sector continues to grow the NAPB is a necessary attempt at self regulation but with limited power, resources and voluntary sign up it falls short of being able to protect all of the general public from unscrupulous operators.
It does however provide a point of reference for diligent consumers to find cash buying companies that have voluntarily signed up to follow best practice guidelines and join a basic redress scheme so that they can be held accountable if they fall foul of best practice.
Being a member of the NAPB is not a green light that a company has high standards of customer service or that they don’t use questionable business practices, the property ombudsman guidelines for example do not prohibit the use of option agreements and the wording is ambiguous around when a company can reasonably reduce their offer price;
“The offer price should not be reduced late in the process without valid reason and the reasons should be fully explained to the client in writing”
Section 4i of the Code of practice for Residential Property Buying Companies
Some companies are very good at coming up with a “valid reason” for dropping their offer at the last minute.
It is still recommended that you carry out full due diligence before engaging with any cash house buying company whether they are members of the NAPB or otherwise.
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